Tag Archives: CERA

Sol Fed Victory, Independent Media, Mass Protest & EQC’s final straw…

Developments are coming in thick and fast –  our friends in the UK secure a massive victory, Aotearoa Independent Media produce a wonderful perspective on the latest beneficiary bashing and we may now be witnessing the next wave of opposition to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Association  and Earthquake Commission – it’s all go and we wanted to spend a moment to summarise the latest:

The Solidarity Federation in the UK is a long standing revolutionary union affiliated with the International Workers Association. The organisation practices many of the same tactics and ideas as O.S.N and have secured numerous victories over the years. Check their site and make sure you read the latest issue of Direct Action – a long established paper that has offered a fresh perspective on this mad World of ours.

The Solidarity Federation’s latest victory is against the British Government’s recent austerity measures. Known as “Workfare”, the scheme is essentially forcing beneficiaries to work for free. Workfare is what we would have once described as slavery and it appears to be alive and well on British shores. Sol Fed and their supporters took to the streets and picketed ‘Holland and Barrett’ a large retail chain that was taking full advantage of the scheme. The chain fell to mounting pressure and have now pulled out of the scheme! Check out the full story here: www.solfed.org.uk

     “You know I can’t have your ghost chips jobs”. Aotearoa Independent Media have just put out their latest release. Entitled “No jobs, just harassment” the authors have looked at the official numbers and shone light on the dirty games played by Government’s past and present. Beneficiaries have always been a favourite for the right to justify their nastiest policies, Key and Bennett are no different. Their latest scheme is to introduce the Job Seeker Support scheme –

Penalise the poor

There has been a concerted campaign by the right to demonise beneficiaries. Since the days of Ruth Richardson, the environment of Work and Income (formerly Social Welfare) has been very punitive. It is likely to become increasingly so with the introduction of these new benefits. People will be forced into long stand-down periods before they can receive a benefit, attendance at pointless courses, required to report in, and subjected to birth control advice from case managers.

The mass media has contributed significantly to constructing a paradigm in which beneficiaries are depicted as lazy and deceitful. The stereotype of the DPB mum is even more viciously constructed: it is a racist, woman-hating portrait that bears little resemblance to the average DPB recipient’s life. It is in this environment that punishing the poor for being poor becomes widely acceptable.

Full article can be found here: www.indymedia.org.nz

March Against Asset Sales- Across the country huge protests have been taking place. Video footage from Auckland shows 1000’s taking to the streets yet mainstream media have remained dormant. For anyone following the Occupy Movement this should come as no great surprise – millions globally have taken a stand against what has been daubed the age of austerity and the silence from so-called ‘journalists’ has been deafening. In Christchurch a march has been planned for Saturday July 14th from 2pm. Meet at intersection of Deans Ave and Riccarton Road, to rally and march up Riccarton Road – ending at Shand Crescent park. Otautahi Solidarity Network will be there in support of the nationwide day of protest. There facebook event page can be found here: Stop the Theft

The Goal Posts Change Yet Again?! Home owners could have to pay as much as $115,000 up front for earthquake repairs because the Earthquake Commission has changed its payment rules. If you refuse to accept the EQR/Fletcher’s deal (putting you into the black hole of unreturned calls, endless red tape and uncertainty) you now have to put your money where your mouth is. The system before this latest announcement allowed home owners to get a quote from a builder, have it verified by EQC and the money would be put to the builder. Now the home owner is left to fend for themselves with no idea when the money may be reimbursed. Who has spare cash like that?!

“My mum is 80; she’s never going to get a mortgage for $50,000. Elderly people and most families can’t afford the repayments, and if they could, who’s going to pay the interest?”

Main said she had heard of poor workmanship from Fletchers and had a good repairer lined up to do the work.

“With Mum, I though it would be nice to get it sorted out in her lifetime. I don’t want to go to Fletchers and I’ve been mucked around by them before. I plan to battle the Government on this one.” Full story here.

Yet again it is the most vulnerable that have been thrown to the lions. Reaction to this latest development have been steeped in anger and disgust. Fresh protest and pickets are on the cards and O.S.N will be at the forefront of supporting individuals and communities prepared to take a stand. Our contact details can be found at the top of the blog page.

Let us know your thoughts…

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‘A Tale of Two Cities’ Comes Home To Roost

Anyone living in Christchurch couldn’t have missed the build up to the ‘Save the Cathedral’ rally that took place on Saturday 26th May. It had been advertised on the air waves, in the local papers, flyers dropped in our letter box’s and posted on the roadside, the resources behind this project were massive. We were led to believe it would be the mother of all demonstrations since September 4th 2010, that the Minister for the Earthquake Recovery and leaders of the Anglican Church would not be able to ignore the people this time.

An estimated 2000 attended – Gerry Brownlee’s response? Within a matter of hours he simply dismissed any argument the organisers may have had and sided with the Church to demolish the Cathedral. 3 News article here: Cathedral-protests-unrealistic

At the same time as the Cathedral Rally Occupy Christchurch, Social Housing activists and numerous community organisers came together outside of Gerry Brownlee’s National Party Office to remind him that not everyone was wrapped up in the Cathedral frenzy. Around 70 people planted their placards and banners into the front lawn of the property. With messages such as “Freeze the rent”, “Rent is too damn high” and “Homes now business later” people from all walks of life, ages and backgrounds spoke of their disbelief in the Cathedral Rally and the official response to the Earthquakes.

     “We can not ignore the fact that 1000’s of people are prepared to take to the streets demanding a greater involvement in the rebuild and planning of private buildings when at the same time we have thousands of people living in red zoned houses, families renting space in garages and individuals calling the car their home? Has it become so hopeless than we are left to vent our frustrations at the Church?” Anonymous protestor

The protest organisers suggested all participants have a korero to air people’s ideas and see what we hoped to achieve. Initially talk took the direction of big picture issues such as how the city was being redesigned and organised but we were reminded that the big scale issues quickly leave us as individuals feeling overwhelmed and powerless. Supporters of Otautahi Solidarity Network put forward the idea that  we needed to focus on the issues in our neighbourhoods. If we focused our energies on bad landlords and greedy bosses a group of 70 people armed with banners, flags and passion could really start to make a difference. The idea was received warmly, contact details were shared and links between the various groups were established.

  O.S.N has the potential of being a vehicle of change in our broken city – starting off with small-scale victories it may not be long before we start seeing some real change and force CERA and Brownlee to change their course of direction.

In recent days Mike Peters, organiser for Addington Action made a call on social media “We need a real fight over housing in Christchurch.” Mike has achieved incredible feats restoring houses that otherwise would still be ice boxes and potential death traps. When people on the ground getting their hands dirty start making calls like this you now things are getting serious.

Now is the time to start putting the word out – if you or someone you know is facing horrendous rent hikes, being forced out of their home, had their hours cut or being made redundant get in touch. O.S.N doesn’t pretend to have a magic wand but what we do have is experience, ideas and a will to help others help themselves. O.S.N can be contacted here:

email: otautahisolidaritynetwork@gmail.com

facebook: otautahi soldiarity network

twitter: otautahi sol net

We will get back in touch and ask for more information, the O.S.N team will then discuss the issues raised among ourselves and get back in touch once we have an idea of what could be done.

O.S.N is always looking for individuals and groups that want to get involved. If you would like to know more flick us a message.

Coming up:

A Housing Summit follow-up meeting will be held on Friday June 1st at the Knox Church Hall.

“The purpose of the meeting will be to mark progress from the May 9 Housing Summit in the provision of rental accommodation in Christchurch”, says summit organiser, Cr. Glenn Livingstone. “June the 1st is the first day of Winter. It will be critical that we ask ourselves, ‘what are we doing about providing further rental accommodation in Christchurch?’. We are all stakeholders in this and by joining up our ideas and actions, we can make progress”.

Cr. Livingstone says that the main housing providers such as Housing New Zealand and the City Council will be asked to give an update on what they have done since the May 9 meeting to provide further accommodation. A steering group that has met since then will put several proposed action points to the meeting, asking for a mandate to act on them.

This is a public meeting, beginning at 10 am at the Knox Church Hall, corner of Bealey Avenue and Victoria Streets, Christchurch.

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CMP Picket, CERA office Occupied and a new email list!

It’s been all go, O.S.N can’t take all the credit, but many of the team are directly involved with the Christchurch Otautahi Occupy movement which has been leading the way.

The distinction between the two group’s rest firmly with class and our analysis of it. While Occupy claims to be for the 99% O.S.N recognise that within our community there are far more snakes, vipers and enemies of the working class than an arbitrary 1%. However the Occupy movement is offering a space for people completely new to direct action to explore their idea’s and take them closer to their natural conclusions. It is also allowing those in the previous year, who have begun to push their comfort zones, to take more of a lead role within the group.

The results of this relationship speak for themselves:

Last Saturday, November 5th, Westmeat on Blenheim Rd received the wrath of a rowdy picket who were there to highlight the battle that is being ignored by the mainstream media. Canterbury Meat Packers have been locked out for almost 3 weeks. The 111 workers and their families are being starved out unless they agree to a 20-30% pay cut; Occupy Christcurch and members of Otautahi Solidarity Network brought some much needed heat to the businesses supplied by this company.

Full video here: Solidarity with CMP workers

The day before saw a small team pace the newly opened Cashel Mall. Despite a difficult crowd we came across some good folk, union delegates that hadn’t heard of the CMP issue, old activists who were grateful to see some young blood picking up the baton and to top it off a very irate Operations Manager. After telling a number of the crew he would call the police, he was told to ‘go ahead’, his bluff was roused and he stormed off with his beefed up security guard in tow. Never doubt your right to protest! We raised some attention on the situation and gathered some much needed funds for our comrades in the North.

Monday 7th November we attended a Rally in the city to condemn the demolition that is taking place in the CBD. The Heritage Trust had gathered a number of politicians and councillors to remind us of how bad it all was and that the ballot box will bring a halt to the wrecking ball. A few of us picked up on the growing sense of frustration among the crowed. Before long 100 of us split from the rally to take a message to the CERA head office, before we knew it we were in the lobby of the HSBC building shouting to bring the demolition to an end and to OCCUPY! Within minutes 30 of us were on the second floor  demanding answers. It was an exciting crowd of young and old, a cross section of our community, willing to take a stand and bend the rules to get the message across.

Full video here: CERA office Occupied

Further article here: Aotearoa Indymedia

As a result of this action, organisers of recent public rallies in the Red Zones approached members of O.S.N and Occupy – we are now in touch with them, hoping to help coordinate the biggest rally the city has seen since the initial September quake. The 19th November promises to be a massive day (more news expected shortly)
This is what it’s all about, through direct action, networking suddenly becomes a very real and urgent necessity. Various groups and individuals begin to realise there is more in common than not. Otautahi is promising to be an incredibly exciting and dynamic city to be.

Wanna keep in touch? A discussion email group has been created and we invite you to join us on it!

Simply email otautahisolidaritynetwork@gmail.com with the title “sign up” and we’ll make it happen.

We hope to have our next O.S.N meeting time and date sussed soon – keep your eyes and ears peeled 🙂

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Otautahi’s newest emerging group has arrived!

100 gathered to discuss issues and plan for the winter

April Rally 2011 - one of numerous smaller circle discussions

Welcome all,

The first post of the Otautahi Solidarity Network blog aims to look at the past 12 months, comment on where we are at and look to the summer months ahead. We are an evolving group that encapsulates our rich and diverse community, we have an open outlook that encourages debate, planning and action. Our strength rests firmly with people getting involved; we ask that you subscribe, participate, post and share this blog with friends, family and colleagues. For those out of town, we welcome support and discussion, Solidarity Networks are springing up throughout Aotearoa, we will help to put you in touch with your local groups and be there if you want our assistance to set up your own.

In recent days a meeting took place under the banner of the Otautahi Solidarity Network. It was here that people shared idea’s and hopes, where the name for the group was agreed and where a dramatic shift in momentum was felt. The Network aims are still yet to be defined, however we can tell you that talk of community work shops, time banks, protest, gardening, free markets, concerts, street theatre among many, many idea’s have been discussed.

      With the summer months just around the corner things are heating up in the city

On August 20th residents of Avonhead and Ilam took to the streets to protest against yet another liquor outlet to be granted a licence in their community;

There is already a wide liquor ban in force just a block away from the proposed site and there are 10 other alcohol outlets in the area.

Like previous protests held in South Auckland in July last year, the Christchurch residents claim more outlets can only lead to more alcohol-related problems.
Full story and news video can be found here – link
Monday 5th September saw a rowdy crowd welcome the National Cabinet who came to Otautahi to take full media advantage of the one year anniversary of the 7.1 quake. It was here that the desire for a tangible, coherent network of individuals and groups was made loud and clear.
A colourful write up of the event can be found here – link
An excellent short documentary can be watched here – link
and a Metro News video can be seen here – link
A few days later Avondale yet again saw a mass protest. Frustrations with Insurance Companies, inconsistent messages received by the Government and an overall lack of information from CERA saw over 200 people gather to vent their growing anger.

People waved signs, and slammed CERA and the government’s red zone offers.

Riverside residents have been joined by red zone residents from around the city, stating they will not accept the offer until a number of issues are addressed. (Full article here – link)

The media seem to be surprised at the level of protest that is beginning to show itself

When they stop to ask what the reason’s are they look puzzled at people’s emotional outbursts. We’ve been told time and time again how resilient we are and we have been bombarded by images of the CBD, the vague smiles of Parker and given little relevant information. As a direct result TV3’s Campbell Live has become the default voice of the voiceless… however beneath the radar people have been busting a gut in preparation for the outrage that is only beginning to stir.

Local groups such as Beyond Resistance, Unite Christchurch and Action for Christchurch East, have been pooling their resources and skills, resulting in numerous rallies, public assemblies and sources of inspiration and aid for the forgotten throughout the year.

Beyond Resistance is a national Anarchist Collective working to support workers rights, beneficiaries and the unemployed. The group has been in existence in Otautahi for two years. It runs a monthly discussion night, an informal beer and book evening and has been heavily involved in getting aid to those in need.

Unite Christchurch represents workers in the service industry. The union membership has been hit hard by the recent events, losing all of its hotels, language schools and many fast food outlets. It has fought hard to ensure those effected have been treated well and looked after by their employers.

Action for Christchurch East first formed weeks after the 7.1 quake. It became a hub for people to share idea’s and create actions. From a facebook group and network on the streets the collective began writing articles and posting events on the Action for Christchurch East blog – this can be found here – link

We are now witnessing the city shake off the official image presented on our t.v screens.  People are taking back their pride, their communities and their own destiny’s.

Kaiapoi residents are planning a massive rally this weekend:

Sunday, September 25th from 2:00pm – 3:00pm, Band Rotunda on Charles Street, Kaiapoi.

There are also rumours of a mass demonstration/march/protest in the next few weeks. Watch this space for announcements.
A brand new internet group has also emerged. Christchurch Gets Ready have sprung up as a direct result of in-action from the powers that be. After 1000’s of aftershock’s there is still no emergency broadcast system, no information regarding what resources we have and what people can offer. The people at Christchurch Gets Ready have captured the thoughts and imagination of many; a one-stop-shop where people can list their needs, skills and resources. With a simple glimpse we can now see what our neighbours and communities have to respond to whatever mother nature has to throw at us.
    Take the time to check the site out here – link
Information is power and so far that information has been a closely guarded secret between the Government and Insurance Companies with Parker and the media working overtime to ensure we don’t start asking questions loud enough for people to take note.
     The Otautahi Solidarity Network blog will become a source of information, we will help to point you to relevant news, groups of interest, work shops and meetings. At the end of the day blogs, face book groups and twitter’s let you know what’s happening but it’s what you choose to do with that information that makes the difference.
    Subscribe, make notes in your diaries, invite friends and get yourselves amongst the Otautahi Solidarity Network!
   We look forward to getting to know you and seeing where this takes us
kia kaha Otautahi!
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